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Maple Ridge mother, uncle accused in 'honour-killing' appeal extradition to India

Jassi Sidhu in an undated photograph with her husband Sukhwinder ‘Mithu’ Sidhu. - Contributed
Jassi Sidhu in an undated photograph with her husband Sukhwinder ‘Mithu’ Sidhu.
— image credit: Contributed

The mother and uncle of a Maple Ridge woman murdered in India are appealing their extradition to face charges in her death.

Jaswinder ‘Jassi’ Sidhu was killed in June 2000 in the Indian state of Punjab after she married rickshaw driver Sukhwinder ‘Mithu’ Sidhu against the wishes of her Canadian family.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Fitch ruled last month that there is enough evidence to extradite Jassi’s mother, Malkit Kaur Sidhu, and her uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha, to India, where they’ve been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

In appeal court documents, Sidhu and Badesha claim the judged erred by admitting “certain hearsay evidence and failing to admit other hearsay evidence.”

The daughter of wealthy blueberry farmers, Jassi met Mithu on a family trip to India and carried on a clandestine long-distance romance with him until they were secretly married in 1999.

While in India, the 25-year-old and her husband were attacked by a gang of men. Jassi’s body was found a day later in a ditch, her throat slit. Her husband survived the attack.

“There is a substantial body of evidence before me that Badesha had an entrenched and deep-seated hostility to the notion that Jassi would defy her family’s wishes and dishonour them by marrying a person below her socio-economic class,” Fitch said in his ruling.

He noted that after discovering the marriage, the uncle threatened Jassi repeatedly.

“He made it clear to others that he was prepared to act on his threats, including by hiring others to kill on his behalf,” said Fitch.

Fitch noted there was similar evidence against Jassi’s mother, pointing out that neither she nor Badesha contacted Mithu’s family to make funeral arrangements or attend Jassi’s funeral in India.

“A reasonable jury, properly instructed, could conclude that Sidhu and Badesha were united in their opposition to the marriage, motivated by a shared and unrepressed hostility towards it, and determined to take whatever measures were necessary to end it,” said Fitch.

Indian police originally charged 13 people, including Sidhu and Badesha.

In 2005, seven men were convicted in India, but three have had their convictions overturned on appeal.

Sidhu, 65, and Badesha, 69, remain in custody, but the Department of Justice said they can apply for bail.

 

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